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Underground Storage Tanks

Jim Baird

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A parcel that fronts a state highway east of our town is said to include a UST. Parcel contains an old wood frame building that was once a service station.

No plat exists on county records. An owner of this parcel wants to sell it. As a condition of the sale he has hired a surveyor to create a plat. The plat uses centerline distances to the state highway and to an intersecting local road to establish points, which the surveyor set.

My review of the parcel found that the new property line is for all purposes contiguous with the front edge of the building.

It appears to me that the new plat, if approved, will leave the suspected UST's off the property and remaining in the state's right of way.

Does this plat appear to relieve a new owner of responsibility for removal of the old UST's?

I have been asked to approve this plat for recording at the Clerk of Court. Should my approval only be contingent on the tanks' removal?

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Go talk to your atty, she will know Georgia statute.

My understanding is a row is just that and the property remains vested in the owner of record. the legal description is from the center line of the road. around here every square inch of property is owned by someone, incl all rows.

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Because I have seven code certs and 10+ yrs experience inspecting etc and because home insp in this area is slow as molasses in winter I, like many of our brethren in places like PA, have farmed out my services to local gubmints.

Local town has also given me zoning admin duties, which include plat approval.

I have learned a lot about UST's lately.

The plat submitted will not get approval. The submitter pleads ignorance, but I think he knew there was some liability there, and he was trying to survey/sell the problem down the road.

Our state requires whoever caused tanks to be put there to be in charge of their disposal if they are of certain age, and to remove contaminated soil if that occured.

He claims he sold the parcel (without plat approval) with buyer knowing tanks were there. Hmmmmm.

I think the deal may not fly.

The property, with its tanks and associated liability belong to the estate that inherited it.

Period. Story over.

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I learned that in GA buried tanks of heating oil and or farm diesel or propane are exempt from state UST regs if they just serve a dwelling, ironically.

I knew a guy selling a 60 yr old custom home that had a buried heating oil tank outside it. He had dug up the standpipe and asked me if I thought he could just saw it off, since the house had long since been served by a heat pump.

I told him I couldn't help him decide that one.

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  • 11 months later...

Check out Federal Law,

Under federal law, every owner of the property back to the time the tank was installed can be found liable for cleanup. Sold the property ten years ago? Thought you're home free? Nah, the feds can still come and get a piece of you for leaving that old UST there unremediated.

Does the government exercise that right much? No, but it's there and someday I think they're going to be forced to use it more and more.



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